Saturday, August 15, 2020

USB-C Port Woes: Wobbling all the way to the Genius Bar

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Does your cable wobble? All four USB-C ports on Mike's 2018 MacBook Pro wobble and lead to unstable data connections. Apple don't want to know, but a simple fix seems to be working.

Workflow: The humble typewriter through rose-coloured glasses

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Notebooks, typewriters, fountain pens: All should by rights be dead, foully killed off by the computer. But they live on.....

Lightroom Creative Cloud meets Capture One’s free trial

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After decades with Adobe's Lightroom, John takes a free ride with Capture One. Is he ready to give up the familiar turf and move over to the Danish model?

Evernote turbo sync and web clipper

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I've been a great fan of Evernote ever since the service was launched in 2008. This free cloud storage service enables you to save...

Moneydance: iPhone app makes the best even better

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Without a doubt the best accounts package for the Mac is Mondeydance. It's not the prettiest, but it is rock solid and does everything you could reasonably expect of an accounts package. The joy of it is that you can make it as simple or as complicated as you like and it is suitable for beginners right through to professional book-keepers. Unlike many personal accounts packages, the "categories" - to show income and expenditure under various headings - are not simply tags but fully-functioning accounts which allow proper journalling to keep even your accountant happy. Yet the beginner never sees this and doesn't need to know about it.

Moneydance will track all your bank accounts, credit cards, loans, mortgages, investments, assets and liabilities.

Now, for the first time, we have an iPhone app (it also works on the iPad, of course) which syncs with the desktop program. Up to now I've been entering raw data into Pocket Money on the iPhone - that is also a wonderful stand-alone app if that's what you need - but now have just one home for all my entries. For a V1 release, the Moneydance iPhone app (it's free, by the way) is outstanding. It's not intended as a full accounts package as, for instance, Pocket Money, but as an adjunct to the desktop package it is just right.

One of the big advantages of the desktop version of Moneydance is that there are versions for most platforms, including Mac, Windows and Linux. The data file is universal so you can save your data on a Mac and then open it on a Windows machine. I store my data file on Dropbox so the latest version is available wherever I'm working. A couple of years ago I had cause to thank Moneydance for this universality. My MacBook gave up the ghost while I was away from home. I desperately needed to access my accounts data (which I had on a backup disk) so I borrowed a PC, downloaded the app from the Moneydance site and was able to open and work on my file with no problems.

I can thoroughly recommend Moneydance for the Mac. It costs about £30, plus local taxes. 

Things 3.0: At last I found my organisational soul mate

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I have a new best friend and helpmate. It is called Things. In a few months it has become the focal point of my workflow. I feel decidedly better organised and on top of things. But this was not always so…..

Learn the top ten Mac keyboard shortcuts in ten minutes

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Many new Mac users seldom use keyboard shortcuts. Even frequent actions such as cut and paste are laboriously handled from the menu...

How much RAM do you need to use Lightroom?

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Do you need 1.5TB of RAM to process your holiday snaps. No way. But you might benefit from 16GB or even 32GB of extra computing power.

Fax Machine: RIP, good and faithful servant

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Goodbye fax, it was nice knowing you. I cannot remember when I last had to send or receive a fax, so I'm opting out of this bit of 20th-century technology.

Two years ago I had my dedicated fax line disconnected and pensioned off the old HP all-in-one. But withdrawal set in and I signed up for the admirable MyFax service "just in case". For £5 a month I got a dedicated fax number and the ability to receive and send faxes  without the inconvenience of telephone lines and paper-handling contraptions. After paying MyFax over £100 and neither receiving nor sending a fax, it is time to quit.

Fax was an important means of communication in my business and reigned supreme until the mid-90s when email began to take over for all non-secure communication. But back in the mid seventies I was unaware of the potential impact of a machine that could transmit text and pictures.

One evening I was vexed to find one of my major competitors as large as life on a BBC current affairs television programme with a new-fangled device he was promoting. This early evening daily spot was to die for at the time and there was my hated colleague stealing the limelight with something new and interesting.

This wonder was in twin form -- one enormous electronic box sitting in the London studio and the other in Cardiff. My bête noir was confidently feeding a sheet of paper into the Cardiff-based box while the nation waited for a "facsimile" to appear out of the similar box in London. Nothing came, zilch, massive failure and I witnessed a red-faced competitor. To my eternal shame I  felt extreme Schadenfreude, but at least I was in at the birth.

Now I am in at the end, just as I was in Berlin on November 9, 1989 when the Wall fell. End of an era. And RIP, fax machine. You helped bring down Communism by your ability to transmit illicit truth; you deserve peace.

Lightroom CC and the disappearing Nik Collection

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Since I upgraded to Lightroom Creative Cloud subscription-based applications my Nik Software plugins have been working flawlessly. Right click on an image, go to "Edit In" and the full list of available plugins was presented. Last weekend, however, I noticed that all, with the exception of Color Efex Pro for some reason, had disappeared from the Edit dialogue box. I immediate suspected foul play involving a big dose of housekeeping done the previous day.